My Top JRPGs ~ #6 ~ Star Ocean: The Second Story

I was wide-eyed and in awe when the world of JRPGs was opened to me. Everything about the genre was new and breathtaking. So, you could imagine my excitement when I found an RPG with two playable characters and over 80 different endings! When I picked the game up for myself, I was certainly not disappointed.

The world of Expel where Star Ocean: The Second Story begins was rather peaceful, until monsters started popping up everywhere! You can take the reigns of this adventure as Rena, a young girl from Expel who is beginning to grow into her own and learn the secrets of her past, or as Claude, a space Ensign who accidentally winds up on Expel. The technology he wields, which is far that above Expel’s, is mistaken for mystical powers, leading the people of Expel to believe Claude is a warrior prophesied to come and save them. He and Rena wind up on a quest to save the planet (and maybe even all of existence!) from destruction, while picking up some memorable friends along the way.

Nowadays the idea of having two playable characters in an RPG isn’t that revolutionary, but this game does it so right. There are certain characters, dialogue options, scenes, and endings you can only get by playing as either Rena or Claude, meaning you will have to play through at least once as each of them to experience the bulk of the game. There are also a plethora of side-quests that can inspire a character to join or party or earn you some sweet loot. Sometimes when you try to enter or exit a town a certain points in the game, you will be alerted of available ‘Private Actions’, which are special little scenes that can bring you closer to (or further apart from) the other person involved depending on how you handle yourself. These choices will effect the endings you get.

Oh, yes, the endings. The reason why the game claims there are over 80 different endings is because, depending on your actions and dialogue choices, the end of the game can result in certain characters being best friends (or lovers) with each other, with each situation giving you a different scene at the end. You can get a bit of a feel for what endings you’re on the way to receiving by paying attention in-battle. When a character is seriously injured or knocked out and a person who cares deeply for them is in the battle party, you may see them scream their name in horror and go berserk on the enemy. This kind of customization flows through the gameplay as well.

Claude meets the mayor of Rena’s hometown, who believes Claude is the Warrior of Light that legends have spoken of.

As far as battles go, this game is a pretty standard RPG, but outside of battle is where it shines. You can buy skills and then level them up, allowing you to create items, make money, or even raise stats. These abilities range from creating music to learning alchemy to cooking. The cooking in particular was always my favorite, so allow me to elaborate on it a bit to give you an idea of how in-depth this game goes. You go to markets and buy foods and/or recipes, then put the food together and see what happens. Depending on the combination of foods and your skill level in cooking, you can create culinary heaven or complete disaster, both of which can have a corresponding effect on whomever you feed it to. Each character also has a favorite food which will give them a little special boost when they eat it. You can even create alcoholic beverages, but only the characters over the age of 18 can brew them up! Just about every creation-based skill is this detailed, and experimenting with the different skills is a total blast.

The graphics are very nice for its time, and the world map has a sort of 3D feel to it that is pretty fun to navigate. Even the locations you enter have an interesting 2D/3D effect where you can see your character run behind buildings or disappear as they run up and down hills in the distance (this is fairly common now, but was certainly not for its time). The characters also have many hilarious facial expressions to see. The music is also very fun and memorable, and listening to it always stirs up emotions and memories in me, reminding me of how much I loved this game.

So, there you have it! Star Ocean: The Second Story is a wonderful classic RPG that delivers both in visuals and gameplay. If you can manage it, pick it up and experience it for yourself! Even those RPG fans who dislike or are tired of the ‘classic’ RPG feel will find this title refreshing and fun to play.

You can purchase Star Ocean: Second Evolution, the PlayStation Portable enhanced remake of Star Ocean: The Second Story for yourself! Purchasing it via this link will help support Chu*Blog at no extra cost to you!


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